Mother allegedly starved toddler

October 20, 2009 2:37:41 PM PDT
A local mother is behind bars for what police say she did not do for her three-year-old son. Note: Some of you may find some of the descriptions in our story a bit disturbing.

Marcia Holliday has been arrested and charged with a first degree felony. Her three-year-old son only weighed 17 pounds, roughly the size of a six or seven-month-old child.

It all started last Friday when the mother actually took her three-year-old son to the doctor complaining that he wasn't eating and that he was lethargic. But when doctors and nurses took one look at the boy and saw his condition, they contacted Child Protective Services and law enforcement.

Holliday, 30, a mother of three, is now behind bars at the Harris County jail. She was arrested when doctors examined her three-year-old son, who had the frame of an infant.

"He was severely malnourished, weighing only 17 pounds. So really for this three-year-old, he was the size of a six-month-old child. He should really be weighing about 35 pounds," said Estella Olguin of CPS.

The boy was unable to eat and health officials say doing so might have sent him into cardiac arrest.

He lives in a north side apartment with his mother and two siblings, ages five and six. Neighbors say the boy appeared very frail.

"I thought he was a baby until she told me he was three years old. I told her he was too small to be three," said one neighbor.

CPS says Holliday's three-year-old son is on seizure medication unrelated to his condition.

"The doctors say that there is no medical reason why he wasn't gaining weight, why he shouldn't have been eating. And that's one of the things we are obviously looking into," said Olguin.

The boy remains hospitalized in critical condition.

CPS had two previous investigations on the family. In January 2008, CPS received a report of medical and physical neglect of the same victim by his mother. The report at that time was that the boy was malnourished. After an investigation, services through the Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) program were offered to the family. The family was also receiving WIC services and food stamps to provide for the children's nutritional needs. According to CPS, no abuse was found. The case was ruled out and closed.

The second report was received in November 2008, alleging medical neglect of the current victim. It was alleged that the mother was failing to provide his prescribed medication. CPS officials say a case worker saw the child and saw that he had his needed medication on hand and ruled out allegations of abuse.

As for the boy and his two older siblings, they have now been placed in CPS custody in foster care. The mother has been charged with serious bodily injury to a child, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

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